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Judge Who Gave Teen 241 Years Wants Sentence Tossed

But Missouri is defending constitutionality of lengthy sentence
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 16, 2018 6:10 PM CDT
Missouri Defends 241-Year Prison Sentence for 16-Year-Old
In this June 21, 2017 file photo, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley speaks at a news conference in St. Louis.   (AP Photo/Jim Salter File)

(Newser) – Missouri is defending a prison sentence for a man who committed robbery and other crimes on a single day when he was 16 and now isn't eligible for parole until he's 112 years old, the AP reports. State Attorney General Josh Hawley says in a US Supreme Court filing that defendant Bobby Bostic's 241-year sentence for 18 crimes does not violate the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Hawley says a 2010 Supreme Court ruling that outlawed life sentences for people under 18 who didn't kill anyone applies only to a sentence for one crime. The former St. Louis judge who sentenced Bostic disagrees. She now believes the term is unjust and is backing Bostic's high-court appeal. There's no timetable for when the justices will decide whether to hear his case. Now 39, Bostic has been in prison for more than 20 years.

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State and federal courts around the country have ruled differently about whether young people convicted of crimes can be sentenced to prison for terms that the ACLU, representing Bostic, said "exceed their life expectancy." The retired judge, Evelyn Baker, is among more than 100 current and former judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers who are calling on the Supreme Court to throw out the sentence as grossly unfair. In December 1995, Bostic and 18-year-old Donald Hutson robbed a group of six people who were delivering Christmas presents for the needy, the ACLU said in its appeal on Bostic's behalf. They fired a gun at two victims, grazing one and missing the other. The robbers then carjacked a woman and Hutson robbed and fondled her before releasing her. Hutson took a plea deal and got 30 years. Bostic went to trial and lost.

(Read more Missouri stories.)

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